The way you deliver a message is so very important.
You want the other person to be receptive to what you have to say so that you can find a solution to the problem.
The message that you’re delivering needs to be clear so that the listener does not get confused.
How do you do that?
Skip the pleasantries and get right to the point.
Assuming you approached the person beforehand, they know you’re going to be having a difficult conversation and will have mentally prepared for it.
Be direct, get right to the point. There’s no reason to fluff out the conversation with unnecessary filler like fake pleasantries and “compliment sandwiches.”
Control your emotions and remain calm while you talk.
A flood of emotions out of you is likely to evoke a flood of emotions from the listener. Anger will usually incite anger from the listener, for example.
Pay attention to your tone, the words you are using, and the emotions that are coming forward in your communication.
If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed or too emotional, pause for a few seconds and collect your thoughts.
Emotion isn’t always a bad thing in difficult conversations, but it’s usually more harmful than helpful.
Clarify your problems by using direct examples.
The easiest way for you to communicate the problem is by using direct, clear examples of what is going wrong.
This helps the listener to understand how they might be responsible for a problem and how they might change their behavior to resolve it.
Avoid accusations, finger pointing, blaming, and absolute language.
This may be harder to avoid than one might realize, particularly if you are trying to resolve a personal issue where there is actually someone to blame for something going wrong.
If you can avoid these things, you’ll be more likely to get to a successful resolution of the problem.
Definitely avoid absolute language like “nothing,” “everything, “you never,” and “you always.”
These types of words erode the quality of the conversation because they do not reflect reality. No one always does anything.
Give the other person an opportunity to speak their mind and ask questions.
The ability to listen is imperative. If you’re looking to find the solution to a problem, there may be other factors at work that you had not considered or been privy to.
A conversation is an exchange between people. Don’t forget to listen to what the other person has to say, address their concerns, and consider their point of view.
They may already have a solution or plans that you’re not aware of. Make sure you understand the other person’s response.
Do give them the freedom to ask questions so they can clearly understand your point of view.
This also helps the other person feel as though they are part of the problem-solving process rather than feeling like a resolution is being forced on them.
Don’t deviate from the topic at hand.
Avoid getting pulled off of the problem you are discussing or wandering around into other issues.
That will usually devolve the discussion into a confusing fight as both parties lose sight of the primary goal and start getting sucked into a mindset of attack and defense.
Stay focused on the topic at hand.
Don’t be afraid to take a mutual break from a discussion.
Difficult conversations can evoke intense emotions. If you or the other person needs a small break, then take one.
Just make sure that you are both in agreement to take a break and come back to the matter. You don’t want either party using a break as a means of derailing or controlling the conversation by ending communication at a vital point.
Don’t make assumptions about the situation.
Try to keep a clear and open mind about the person you’re talking to and the situation you are trying to resolve.
This will help you save face and preserve your own image as a reasonable, problem-solving person if you end up being completely wrong about a situation.
That perspective is important because you don’t want to have a reputation as someone who is hard to find solutions with.
People are more likely to avoid you than try to work with you to find resolutions which will only cause you more problems in the future.
Resolving The Conversation
The close of the conversation should clearly articulate what is due to transpire after the conversation is had.